Multimedia Artists and Animators
Approximately 71,600 multimedia artists and animators are employed in the United States. Multimedia artists and animators can work at small companies or start-ups whose focus is the development of only one or two games. They can also work at large companies that are developing many games at once. In addition, some artists freelance, working with a company for a limited time or on a particular project and then moving on to another freelance job with a different company. Multimedia artists and animators also work in the motion picture and television industries, advertising, and computer system design services.
Artists and animators, whether they are just starting out in the field or experienced professionals applying for a job with a new employer, need to have demo reels that highlight their best work. Potential employers will look at a demo reel to get an idea of the artist's or animator's abilities. Those who are seeking their first job can make a reel using artwork that they have done for school as well as anything they've made on their own. Internships also offer an excellent opportunity to gain hands-on experience, which employers like any new hire to have.
To learn of job openings, college students should network with the teachers in their school program, many of whom have contacts in the industry. Conferences, such as SIGGRAPH and the Game Developers Conference, provide major networking opportunities where students can impress those in the field as well as learn of job openings. The Internet is also a good source to use, and Web sites such as http://www.gamejobs.com and https://www.gamasutra.com offer information on jobs and employers.
Artists and animators can advance into positions such as lead artist and lead animator. Their responsibilities can include overseeing the work of a team on a project, going over the artwork of individual members, and keeping the team on their time line. Art directors and animation directors have even more management responsibilities. They may oversee the work of several teams, assign game projects to teams, plan the timeline for a game's development, keep an eye on the budget, and do other administrative tasks. Not all artists and animators want to move into such a position because directors' responsibilities remove them from the hands-on creative process. These artists and animators may choose to advance by continuously upgrading their skills and working in areas of art that they haven't previously tried. With their hard work and broad experience, they can gain a reputation in the industry for the quality and variety of their artwork and become sought-after artists.
Tips for Entry
Read Computer Graphics World (http://www.cgw.com) and Game Developer (https://www.gamasutra.com/topic/game-developer) to learn more about the field.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
- Animation World Network (https://www.awn.com)
- CreativeHeads.net (https://www.creativeheads.net)
- GameJobs.com (http://www.gamejobs.com)
- Gamasutra (https://www.gamasutra.com)
- Dice (https://www.dice.com)
Consider joining a professional association for artists, for access to educational programs and networking events.
Attend the Game Developers Conference (https://www.gdconf.com) to network and interview for jobs.
Start developing a digital portfolio of your work, or create your own Web site, so that you are ready to begin looking for jobs once you graduate. Include only your best work.